Five Tips For Mastering Email Introductions
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“Jamilla I want you to look really hard at how you are responding to these very important people,” replied my mentor as she (as I imagine) frustratingly typed to me after reading my coy replies to her important contacts. To this day, I will never forget the kind and promising words she used to introduce me to the high caliber of women -who I would not have ever known without her-through an email introduction and blurb.
Because of my lack of professional experience, during this time, I fell short of impressing many of the important people included on that email. This led to a mixture of conflicting feelings including self-doubt, embarrassment, and overall disappointment in myself. Yet, I felt entitled to a second chance. What I failed to realize was that in the current job climate and saturated market there were several, if not hundreds, of people waiting for their competition to fail in order to slip in and handle what you fell short of doing.
Although this personal scenario occurred nearly three years ago, it took me some time to reflect, coach, and redeem myself internally from this string of unfortunate events. Through personal growth, I have come to realize that this particular mistake, though it was novice and borderline mental, gave me the self-awareness on how to conduct myself in important professional situations, including the somewhat complex, yet important, email introduction. I knew going forward I wouldn't make the error of failing to put my best foot forward and ever since, I’ve rigorously coached myself, studied and practiced email formalities closely. Whether you are introducing or being introduced, here are some helpful tips to ensure you’ll master connecting good people virtually.
1. Do your research When I was formally introduced in an email blurb I received multiple replies that required my attention. I strongly encourage doing a fair amount of research on each person that responds to you. Google, LinkedIn, and Twitter are your best friends when researching people who are replying to you. This gives you the golden opportunity to reply with confidence and due diligence. For example, you may reply with: ”I see you’ve worked at the X organization over ten years. I have always been intrigued by the work your company does and I am genuinely eager to potentially learn more about what your role entails there."
2. Be selective Of course, it’s essential to be selective when offering to connect people. My mentor may have regretted introducing me to her contacts after I failed to demonstrate proper email etiquette, however, it was a difficult complex lesson that needed to be learned on my end. In my opinion, people may be flawed but have the potential to be great with a bit of help. Be ready to defend your introductions if they plummet during the communications cycle.
3. Be brief and thorough If you are replying to a group style or one-on-one introduction, it’s important to clearly express your gratitude and briefly describe what you hope to get out of your new connection. For example you could start with: "I am so grateful Sue introduced us and I’m looking forward to connecting soon. I am presently freelancing with X website and looking to gain some career advice and possibly discuss boasting and editing my resume." This reply gives the other person a clear idea of what you are looking to gain out of being introduced and also demonstrates your humility and eagerness to learn.
4. Connect, connect, connect It doesn't matter if you’re the one introducing or being introduced. This tip is for everyone. Recently, a contact sent me the full bio of the person she planned on introducing to me, including his LinkedIn profile, with permission, of course. More than likely, you’ll both view each other’s LinkedIn profiles and discover talking points, such as volunteer work or where your contact studied. This is a great way to showcase all your skills, experience, and activities. Be sure to actively update your LinkedIn and refrain from posting content that doesn't pertain to business matters.
5. Stay on message I have mentioned this in several of my previous articles. It’s important to stay on message whenever you are being connected with someone you have not previously met. It is unlikely you will get an invitation to a family picnic or anything personal from the beginning, so remember to stay consistent in connecting in the same fashion in which you were first introduced. I have had several contacts reach out to me via email to give their mobile number, though this is ok to pursue, I remain on email out of respect until the relationship potential evolves.
I am eternally grateful to have the have learned an abundance during my career cycle thus far. Email introductions are the new wave of meeting people and with the above tips anyone can make a lasting impression leading to happy careers, contacts and hearts.